Sado Island: A rugged paradise with famous drummers, bathtub boats, and a cave filled with spooky Jizo figures
🥁These days, Sado Island is an hour offshore by hydrofoil, but in olden times it would take a lot longer to get to the place where radical monks and other troublemakers got sent when they caused too much trouble for the powers-that-be. But this ruggedly gorgeous spot isn’t your average run-of-the-mill purgatory—it’s got steep cliffs bursting with day lilies, turquoise bays with water so clear you can see every creature scuttling below, and a cave filled with spooky Jizo figures looking out for the souls of lost children. It’s got fabulous local pottery, gold mines, sake breweries, and is also the home of the world-famous taiko drumming group, Kodo.
Sadogashima is also the home of numerous sake breweries (with tours and tastings), a museum about the gold mines that flourished here in the Edo Period, and a taiko drumming center that is run by the world-famous taiko group, Kodo. If you’ve never experienced taiko drumming, you should. Each performance is as much of a dance as it is music.
Here’s where Sado Island is:
Here’s how to get to Sado Island from Tokyo:
Once you get to Niigata, of course you can take a cab instead of walking to the port! At the other end, there are various options for getting around. There are no subways or trains, but a lot of buses, both guided and regular transportation. Info in English is here.
I used the Japan Navigation phone app to figure out this route, and you can easily use it too, with your actual date and preferred arrival time. It’s also good for finding the easiest way to get to Tokyo Station from where you’re staying. Here’s where to get the app and how to use it.
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